A Pertinent and Sentimental Culmination

Travel is a wonderful thing.  It is exciting.  It is interesting.  It is certainly fun. The opportunity to tour the world with a group of motivated classmates is a unique experience that teaches you far more than can be gleaned from leisure trips though, and it is rare.  During my two years in the Tulane University Freeman School of Business MBA program, my class has been fortunate to venture to Italy, Argentina, and China, and each was individually exceptional when you consider the cultures and business partnerships we were able to enjoy.  Our last trip, to China mere weeks before graduation, is one that especially stands out in my mind.

During our Global Leadership coursework in the months leading up to the trip, we learned about the business cultures of various Asian countries and received insight from individuals experienced in international commerce.  Our teams engaged with Chinese companies throughout the semester to work on consulting projects.  Once in China, we had the great opportunity to collaborate with fellow MBA students at Xiamen University, tour multiple company headquarters and factories, and visit with business leaders at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.  While our previous trips had included similar activities and opportunities, China stands out as being the most unfamiliar experience.  Few of my classmates had ever been to China before, and its culture is so very unique and vastly different for those of us coming from Western societies.  With increasing globalization and many of my classmates’ careers likely to involve aspects of international relations, this trip was immensely pertinent given the growing importance of the Chinese market.

Lastly, as with all of our international trips, this trip served as an adhesive to forge lasting relationships within the class.  While our first trip, which was to Italy, was certainly pivotal in terms of setting a tone for the inclusive atmosphere we would experience throughout the program, this final trip was significant as everyone truly savored the opportunity to share the experience with a group of classmates that had bonded so well over the previous two years.  When I was initially applying to MBA programs, these were types of close relationships I wanted to forge, relationships that will continue even after we graduate and begin the next stages of our careers across different parts of the globe.  It is not always easy to foster these connections throughout the typical bustle of the semester – coursework mounts up; people have jobs, internships, and families to tend to.  This is why the Freeman MBA Global Leadership opportunities are such an instrumental part of our program, and culminating our experiences in China was the perfect finale.

Jed Vorhoff

MBA Candidate 2016